The French National Research Agency Projects for science

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Announcement: 5th edition of MRSEI call launched 27 October alongside Work Programme H2020

The MRSEI (Setting Up European or International Scientific Networks) instrument aims to improve France's success rate on H2020 calls and strengthen its scientific positioning by coordinating European (mainly Horizon 2020) and/or international projects.

The call welcomes proposals to form a scientific network. Proposals may fall within topics from all disciplines. Applications must address large-scale European or international projects with major scientific, technological or societal impacts.

Selected projects will receive a grant of €30 k over a period of 24 months. ANR funding is used towards meetings between partners and consortia workshops necessary to prepare scientific projects, and towards defining the best research strategy for setting up European and international projects.

Improving France's participation rate in European research projects

Since 2015, ANR has provided researchers with access to the MRSEI instrument (Setting Up European or International Scientific Networks) to increase French participation in the Horizon 2020 European Framework Programme. MRSEI's objective is to set up internationally operational networks and submit projects to European Commission-level institutions.

Beyond financial assistance, ANR provides specific support for projects organised in two parts:

  • An accompaniment seminar dedicated to grant recipients;
  • A more rigorous day-to-day follow-up especially focused on accompanying non-Horizon 2020 funded MRSEI grand recipients, helping them to jointly set out a new submission strategy.

The 4th annual MRSEI Accompaniment Seminar took place on September 19, 2017 (see the program). The event provided an opportunity for new grant recipients to hear feedback from former project MRSEI-assisted projects and use advice to draw up proposals on the European level.


Yves Fort opens the accompaniment seminar for grant recipients of the 4th MRSEI call for proposals..

Director of Scientific Operations Yves Fort stresses the MSREI instrument’s importance to ANR as part of its international action. Mr. Fort goes over specificities concerning the instrument’s implementation:

  • A highly streamlined submission file;
  • a single grant beneficiary for the whole consortium: the French research organisation;
  • peer selection by a single ad hoc committee without mandatory recourse to external peer review involving national contact points (NCP);
  • Provisions allowing for rapid decision-making and the setting up of funding. Submission, selection and start of funding typically in under three months.
  • Specific support provided to grant recipients putting together a file, help monitoring their files.
Key figures about the MRSEI instrument since 2015

257 MRSEI proposals submitted,

120 projects funded by ANR for a total funding amount of €4 million (in September 2017, 25 projects had been submitted to H2020 Work Programme calls (2018 -2020)).

17 projects have already benefitted from a global sum of €230 million in European funding (NB: Results from certain Horizon 2020 programmes have yet to be released at this time).



A closer look at an MRSEI-accompanied project

The joint European programme "One Health" is a prime example of MRSEI’s success stories. Selected through the European Commission's new EJP instrument, this major European project dealing with food zoonoses, and more generally with human and veterinary health topics, will have an overall budget of €90 million over five years. The French-coordinated (ANSES, INRA, Institut Pasteur) project brings together 40 partners from 19 Member States.

"One Health" and its success, which advantageously positions France at the helm of a large-scale programme, were presented by its coordinator, André Jestin. According to Jestin, support from ANR was decisive in setting up the project. Agency support made it possible to finance the organising of the meetings and workshops necessary to set up the consortium, choose a coordinator, and reach out to new partners. It also enabled One Health to define its research needs and priorities through consultation with experts.